Commentary Rumi's Discourse on True Love
Masanavi Vol. I
Whole world wants to be in Paradise. Not a single person seeks
    (1)        Love is the astrolabe: means that only love can "measure"
    and understand the depths of Divine mysteries-- not the
    intellectual reason. The astrolabe is an ancient astronomical
    device, "an instrument for measuring the altitude of the stars and
    solving the problems of spherical astronomy." (Nicholson's

    (2)        Being a lover eventually guides us to the Source of Love,
    which is God, the Only Beloved. Love, whether its immediate
    object be Divine or human, real or phenomenal, leads ultimately
    to knowledge of God and union with Him. All earthly beauty is but
    the reflection of Heavenly Beauty, and as the reflection fades
    away we turn our eyes towards the Light whence it came."
    (Nicholson's Commentary)

    (3)        The meaning of "Love (expressed) without the tongue is
    (much) clearer": "i.e. the signs of love, such as agitation, pallor,
    and tears, speak for themselves. Cf. the saying, (lisánu 'l-hál
    antaqu min lisáni 'l-maqál), 'the tongue of inward feeling is more
    eloquent than the tongue of discourse'." Illumination is a state, in
    which everything is self-obvious, because it has sufficient light
    reflecting from it. More than physical symptoms of love, Rumi
    says that love is more obvious from the attention and care one
    bestows and sacrifices one makes for one’s beloved. Actions
    speak louder than tongue.  

    (4)        Reason has much to do with material obvious things,
    which it can explain well. It has no reach to spiritual realm and
    principles governing it. So it is powerless and helpless in such
    matters. This is a mystery that Love reveals to the lover by
    immediate experienced (man lam yadhuq lam yadri), i.e. He who
    doesn't taste doesn't know. (Nicholson's Commentary)
    (5)        Imam Abu Hanifa hath said, “Practice what you have
    learned, for theory without practice is like a body without a
    spirit.” He who is contented with learning alone is not learned,
    and the truly learned man is not content with learning alone.
    Similarly, Divine guidance (hidayyat) involves self-mortification
    (mujahadat), without which contemplation (mushahadat) is
    unattainable. There is no knowledge without action, since
    knowledge is the product of action, and is brought forth and
    developed and made profitable by the blessings of action. The
    two things cannot be divorced in any way, just as the light of the
    sun cannot be separated from the sun itself (Kashaf-al-Mahjub, p.

    (6)        God is ‘near the jugular vein’ as told in Qur'an (50:16);
    everything nearby or far in universe is just reflective of His

    (7)        Splitting of moon is a miracle ascribed to Hazrat
    Muhammad (SAW). (Qur'an, 54:1). It reflects dawn of truth,
    because moon’s light is borrowed from sun, whereas Sun is the
    genuine leader of the stars in heaven. Therefore when a true
    leader takes hold, the leaders of time give by.

    (8)        Again the concept of Tawhid is firmly established; God is
    One and omnipotent. We can think of hundred similitude of sun,
    which itself is a created being; though nobody has seen an
    illuminating body like sun (till Rumi’s time). But no one can
    conceive of God what He really is.  

    (9)        Shams of Tabriz was the spiritual mentor of Rumi. He was
    his soul companion. He had discovered spiritual states and
    stations with him. So he had deep regard and Love for him in his
    heart. He honors both his knowledge, which like sun had
    illuminated his soul, and friendship that had supported him and
    consoled him in dealing with the difficulties on the way
    throughout the Masanavi.

    (10)        Fana, annihilation is the most desired Sufi state to claim
    union with God. It involves neutralizing or abandonment of baser
    human instincts, thoughts, and values (such as doubt, suspicion,
    jealousy and arrogance) noted as human attributes to acquire
    divine virtues (such as patience & magnanimity) acclaimed and
    practiced by saints and prophets. Click for Detail.

    (11)         In words of Junayd (ra), intoxication denotes excess of
    longing and extremity of Love, and neither of them can be
    acquired by human effort, while sobriety denotes soundness of
    one’s spiritual state. As quoted in Kashaf-al-Mahjub, p.189. Click
    for Detail

    (12)         In state of intoxication, the person may talk in a way that
    makes no sense, like delirium; A person may appear to be
    disrespectful, indecent, even a lunatic or a heretic to the
    common. So the elect Sufis advise to keep sobriety.

    (13)         The true interest of a Sufi is self-abandonment. When
    the attraction of Truth manifests its dominion all his actions are
    confounded, and he loses all powers of expression; nor can any
    name be applied to him or any description be given of him or
    anything be imputed to him. Shibli has said: (Kashaf-al-Mahjub p.

    “I am lost to myself and unconscious,
    And my attributes are annihilated.
    Today I am lost to all things:
    Naught remains but a forced expression.”

    (14)         It is the “soul” which seeks knowledge of friend. It wants
    Union with the Ultimate Truth.

    (15)         Time is a cutting sword, because it is characteristics of a
    sword to cut and “time” cuts the root of the future and the past,
    and obliterates care of yesterday and tomorrow from the past,
    and obliterates care of yesterday and tomorrow from the heart.
    Time is beyond human acquisition; its hard to be found, as its
    neither sold, nor exchanged, and one has no power to attract or
    repel time. Sword must be respected and managed with care;
    violence being its essential attribute would favor none, not even
    its possessor or the loved one of the possessor (Kashaf-al-
    Mahjub, p.369).

    (16)         According to mystic tradition, ‘Ibn-al-waqt’ is a Sufi
    experiencing unbounded spiritual state, which is reflective of the
    gifts he has been bestowed. He is more prone to be ‘reactive’
    and acquire emotional mode, and is termed as “Qalandar” and
    “Rind” as well. (Masnavi Maulvi Ma’navi, Urdu Translation &
    commentary by Qazi Sajjad Hussain, vol.1, p. 45).

    (17)        ‘Ibn-al-Haal’ is the Sufi fully in control of his spiritual
    state; he never lets the common guess his spiritual heights, that
    he has reached the knowledge of Essence. Click for Detail.  

    (18)        Abu Ali Juzjani would say, “ The saint is annihilated in his
    own state and subsistent in the contemplation of The Truth.” In
    contemplation it is impossible to regard aught but God.  He
    cannot be peace with anyone but with God, because a man has
    knowledge only of his own state, and when all his states are
    annihilated he cannot tell anything about himself. He cannot
    relate it to any other human being, because to tell of one’s
    hidden state to other is betrayal, revealing secrets of the
    Beloved, and no one can hold that but The Beloved Himself
    (Kashaf-al-Mahjub, p.216).

    (19)        Abu Hamid Al-Balkhi would exclaim, “ it is wrong to seek
    the way, since the way to God is like the blazing sun; do thou
    seek thyself, for when thou hast found thyself, thou art come to
    thy journey’s end.” God is too manifest to admit of His being
    sought. He has also recommended, “Hide your poverty, do not
    proclaim yourself to be a Sufi (dervish); lest your secret be
    discovered, for it is a great grace bestowed on thee by God.”  

    (20)        It is again talking of union. One cannot be subsistent with
    God in essence. It is only achieved through annihilation of
    annihilation. Click for Detail.  (hyperlink for Kashf ul Mahjub page

    (21)        All boundaries crossed; there is nothing in-between,
    hither or thither, all is spread to nothingness. It is state of
    knowledge of Truth, complete annihilation as stated above.

    (22)        It reaffirms omnipotence of Allah the Almighty; human
    reason and logic must humble itself before it. As established in
    Spiritual Reverence. Click for detail.

    (23)        Again the preference for “sobriety” has been claimed.
    Disturbing Divine ordinance hails destruction. The only solution
    lies in surrender, i.e. understanding and following Divine Law.
    One of the purposes of writing Masanavi was to declare true path
    of the way, i.e. how to acquire spiritual purification, and relieving
    the way from unholy rhetoric.
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